Is All Fibre The Same For Constipation Relief?

Published on December 1, 2015

Constipation is usually the result of poor food choices, lack of fibre in your diet, and conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Abnormal stools can cause issues including enlargement of the rectum, haemorrhoidal pads, and colon and gradual nerve damage.

Eventually, the bowels will refuse to move altogether, which is typically once or twice a day, often following a meal and without notice or effort. Therefore, it is important to recognise and treat constipation and abnormal stools before they become a bigger problem.

Using the Bristol Stool Chart

Based on the information provided by the Bristol Stool Chart, there are seven types of stools. This medical aid chart was designed to categorize stools into seven groups. How long it spends in your colon is what determines the type of stool you have.

After passing stool, it takes a quick look into your toilet bowl to see the result of your diet, medications, fluid, and lifestyle. Using the Bristol Chart will allow you to compare your stool size and consistency to the chart and determine if it is normal or not.

When it comes to whipping your digestive system into shape and preventing constipation, you would be surprised how powerful fibre is. However, even knowing all the benefits fibre offers, many Australians still do not consume as much as they should.

Is All Fibre the Same?

Not all fibre is the same. There are actually two fibre types, soluble and insoluble. Both can help with constipation symptoms and prevent it altogether. Both help to keep your intestinal system running efficiently.

Soluble fibre works by allowing more water to stay in your stool, which makes your stool larger, softer, and simpler to move through your intestines. Bulk is added to your stool with insoluble fibre, which accelerates its passage through your intestines and prevents the feeling of constipation.

There is some kind of fibre in most plant foods. Foods that contain higher levels of soluble fibre include oats, dried beans, rice bran, oat bran, citrus fruits, barley, strawberries, apples, potatoes, and peas. Foods higher in insoluble fibre include whole grains, wheat bran, seeds, cereals, and the skins of various vegetables and fruits.

How Much Fibre Do We Need?

On average, we tend to get around 15 grams of fibre on a daily basis which is much less than what we actually need. Women should shoot for a goal of 21 to 25 grams each day while men should shoot for between 30 to 38 grams daily.

Eating a minimum of nine servings (2 cups) of fibre-filled vegetables and fruits every day is recommended by the American Academy of Family Physicians. These can include oranges, apples, berries, broccoli, figs, pears, beans, peas and carrots. It is also important to maintain a regular intake of fluids. Fluid intake will assist in moving soluble fibre through the gut.

When Fibre Isn’t Enough

Laxatives such as Dulcolax® can help. Laxative tablets, when used properly can be an effective constipation treatment. Little evidence has been shown that regularly using a laxative at the proper dose will result in ‘twisted’ or ‘lazy’ bowel.

Although constipation relief can happen with laxatives, long-term use could lead to your bowels becoming sluggish. If this happens, your bowel won’t work well on its own in the absence of the laxative. This could lead to your constipation becoming chronic.

Therefore, to avoid this vicious cycle from happening, it is important that you consult with your doctor first for advice on how long you should stay on the constipation treatment, and if there are other alternatives you can try.

Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist, consult your Healthcare Professional.

Learn about which Dulcolax product may be appropriate for you.


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